Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Time running out to save Darfur from mass killings. Senators Durbin, Obama, Brownback work U.S. African envoys. House members ask Bush to push UN to intervene in Tuesday UN speech.


With the Sept. 30 deadline approaching for the pullout of African Union troops in the Darfur region of Sudan, the Sudan government continues to resist a UN peacekeeping force.

If the AU soldiers leave and not replaced with peacekeepers, people will be slaughtered.

Senators Barack Obama --who recently visited a refugee camp with people who fled to Chad to escape violence in Darfur--Dick Durbin and Sam Brownback called a meeting Friday to ask envoys from three African nations to apply pressure on Sudan. The Sudan government refuses to allow UN troops in the country.

The UN refuses to send soldiers without the Sudan government approval. President Bush--who will be at the UN in New York next week--suggested that the UN vote to send soldiers in without Sudan permission in order to prevent a genocide.

As the prospects of the U.S. sending a special envoy remain unclear. Obama said earlier in the week he was going to contact former Sec. of State Colin Powell and former Pres. Clinton--figures respected by African leaders--to ask them to personally intervene.

Who attended?

Durbin, Obama, Brownback, Sen. Russ Feingold, Sen. Carl Levin and senior staff for Sen. Ted Kennedy
and Sen. Arlen Specter.

Egyptian Ambassador, South African Deputy Chief of Mission and the
Ghanaian Ambassador.

Next Steps as a result of the meeting:

1. Members will reach out to African Union as a whole asking that
they extend their presence until a UN force is in place.

2. Members recognize the importance of a sustained
commitment for AU mission and will work to ensure that there is adequate
U.S. funding.

3. Diplomats are going to provide their recommendations to the
Senators about what is needed in terms of resources in the near future.

(500TH blog entry since founding feb., 2006)

from Pelosi's office............

Pelosi and Bipartisan Group to President: Now Is the Time to Act to Stop Genocide in Darfur

Washington, D.C. - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Members from both parties active on the crisis in Darfur sent the following letter to President Bush today urging him call special attention to Darfur when he addresses the United Nations on Tuesday and appoint a special envoy on Sudan.

Below is the text of the letter:

September 15, 2006

The President

The White House

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As we have done several times over the last few years, we write to you with profound concern over the increasingly dire humanitarian crisis and worsening genocide in Darfur. The United States simply cannot stand by while the government of Sudan continues its campaign of terror and atrocities against innocent civilians. We urge you to use your speech at the United Nations on Tuesday to call special attention to Darfur and the need for the international community to take immediate, decisive action to end the genocide.

The situation in Darfur has dramatically deteriorated over the last several weeks. In direct violation of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) and numerous UN Security Council resolutions, Khartoum has begun to deploy some 26,000 troops to the Darfur region. This has coincided with a sharp increase in attacks on civilians and humanitarian aid workers, renewed aerial bombardment, and the all but complete deterioration of the fragile DPA.

The member states of the United Nations have simply not done enough to stop the brutal violence that has occurred in Darfur in the past three years. We urge you to call publicly for full implementation of all UN resolutions on Darfur, and for all member states, particularly Russia and China with considerable influence in Khartoum, to do more.

As the international community debates whether or not an international force, in addition to that already deployed by the African Union in Darfur and by the UN in other parts of Sudan, can be deployed without the consent of the Sudanese government, we hope you will cite as examples the intervention of international forces in the 1990's in Africa and Europe. We do not believe the approval of those who have allowed genocide to occur in Darfur is necessary before other nations intercede to bring it to an end.

We would also ask that you use your influence to urge the African Union to renew its mandate until a UN force can take over. The United States should take a leadership role in ensuring that the AU force is properly supplied and equipped. The prospect of leaving a void is a clear recipe for disaster.

Finally, we ask that you immediately appoint a special envoy on Sudan. Now, more than ever, a person with a robust mandate and direct access to you is needed to demonstrate the priority the United States attaches to ending the genocide quickly.

We would like to request a meeting in the coming days to further discuss possible US responses to this emergency. The people of Darfur have suffered for far too long. After each genocide of the last century, Rwanda being the most recent, we vowed "never again." Yet we have become witness to another genocide. Now is the time to act.


Nancy Pelosi Donald Payne

House Democratic Leader Member of Congress

Tom Lantos James Clyburn

Ranking Member Chairman

International Relations Committee House Democratic Caucus

Charles Rangel George Miller

Ranking Member Ranking Member

Ways and Means Committee Education and Workforce

Carolyn Kilpatrick Barbara Lee

Member of Congress Member of Congress

Mel Watt Frank Wolf

Chairman Member of Congress

Congressional Black Caucus

Maxine Waters Michael Capuano

Member of Congress Member of Congress

Jan Schakowsky Tom Tancredo

Member of Congress Member of Congress

# # #

from a press release sent by Durbin's office....

Durbin, Obama and Brownback Convene Meeting

with African Leaders on Darfur;

Say Peacekeeping Mission Must be Extended and Expanded

[Washington, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Barack Obama (D-IL) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) convened a meeting with members of the African diplomatic corps to discuss the urgent need to extend the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and to deploy United Nations peacekeepers as quickly as possible. Representatives from Egypt, Ghana and South Africa attended the meeting with Durbin, Obama, Brownback and Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Russ Feingold (D-WI).

“Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died in Darfur, women have been raped, children have been brutalized in untold numbers and two and a half million people are displaced,��? Senator Durbin said. “The world cannot stand idly by while this genocide continues and escalates. The world has condemned the murder and violence in Darfur, but now we must act to stop it.��?

“Paralysis in the face of genocide is wrong, and with so many lives already lost, we have a moral obligation to prevent more death in Darfur,��? Senator Obama said. “We must ensure that the African Union forces can continue to protect the people of Darfur until at least the end of the year, and begin to lay the groundwork for a lasting solution in the region, two goals that I hope can be achieved at next week’s meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council.��?

“The situation in Darfur is getting worse with each passing day,��? Senator Brownback said. “Twelve humanitarian relief workers have been killed in the last two months, aid organizations can’t reach 60% of the displaced people they once served, and the violence continues to escalate. We must act now to stop the genocide in Darfur by supporting the African Union Mission in Sudan and paving the way for the United Nations to deploy peacekeepers to the region.��?

In recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of additional people in the region have been displaced; humanitarian organizations on the ground estimate that they can only reach about 60% of those in need of assistance. Reports indicate that the Khartoum government is once again stepping up its military campaign in Darfur and that rebel groups have been preparing for combat operations, dramatically increasing the possibility of a humanitarian catastrophe and the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians. The African Union mission is currently set to expire at the end of the month. All present at the meeting agreed that it is imperative to extend the mission.

The Senators noted that the African Union alone cannot be responsible for stopping the genocide in Darfur and that United Nations peacekeepers represent the best hope for containing and ending the bloodshed in the region.


Day 105 24/7 DC VIGIL for DARFUR; Day 35 HUNGER STRIKE (54 days so far this summer, with breaks); ARRESTED Sept 9th at White House with 29 others from Africa Action;


It is said that the mark of truly being “crazy��? is expecting different results from doing the same thing over and over and…. Ok, we needed to try some new approaches, hoping we could find a new formula for mass social change (stopping Genocide has NEVER been done); looking for an approach that would be comfortable, convenient, safe, executed from our computer terminal / phone / TV or office in some combination. The variations we’ve tried are: * Blame (Bush, UN, EU…) , * Emails, letters, postcards…,* Letting the Nonprofits do it, * Divestment. And the results are in. WE ARE NOT, STOPPING THE GENOCIDE!

You mean that the answer for Darfur is the same answer we found for…* Ending the Vietnam War, * Gaining Civil Rights in the US, * Gaining Women the right to Vote in the US, * Ending apartheid in South Africa, * Throwing off the British oppression at our start....?

Yup. No one else, nothing else can stop it, can save 4,000,000 in Concentration Camps in Sudan and Chad. The buck stops with WE-THE-WORLD’S-PEOPLE. Let’s stop talking and start - marching, demonstrating, sitting-in, hunger striking….

The next step is September 17th (; BUT, then we need to be ready on SEPTEMBER 18th, 19th… AS LONG AS IT TAKES, WHATEVER IT TAKES.

Jay McGinley,

Lynn, I have contributed over the years to both the Christian Solidarity International and to a home-base group led by African-American radio host Joe Madison in Washington DC and former congressman Walter Fauntroy. They have all been part of 'freeing black African slaves from their arab slave masters and merchants. Thats right---slaves ! 'Chattel Slavery of blacks by arab muslims is a big business enterprise in Sudan and also rumored elsewhere. Mauritania being a very strong rumor. Actually its more then a rumor. Thats why I shake my head at all these African-Americans who say the arabs are there 'bros, etc. They have been doing this since the early 90's. So where is there fanfare? Where is there Nobel Prize nominations? WHERE HAS EVERYBODY BEEN? I wish you columnists (does mean this doesn't get printed, as in censored) would write articles and ask, "why did the Clinton Administartion do absolutely nothing?" Not that Bush has been much better. I wish somebody would ask Black Leaders like Jesse Jackson (who was Clinton's special envoy to Africa and special ambassador) why they NEVER opened their mouths? I wish somebody would ask the Black Congressional Congress why they did NOTHING and sat there and never opened there mouths? Ms.Sweet, there have been estimates that 3-5 million people may have perished in the 90's in that region and all these so-called progressives did NOTHING. Why?

Let France and Russia deal with Darfur, isnt Koffi Annan from that area? Let that corrupt hippocrit solve that problem, he is a know it all. We need to keep knocking the shit out of al queda in Iraq and Afgahnistan. Darfur is the UN's problem. Let Chavez and Iran and Castro and Jaques Charaq deal with that, they know everything. Muslim Extremists cause evry problem in the world. Black Jack Pershing knew how to handle these cowards!

Its sad that the worlds only superpower, does nothing to stop the genocide in the Sudan. However, its hard to blame President Bush or any other government leader for not acting. Its not like the United States has a major political, economic or security concern in the region. An most of the black leaders, as well as most afro-amer citizens including myself, have few "emotional" ties to Africa. So there is little internal pressure from americans with ties to the "motherland" to force our country to act. While most will say its the "right thing" to do, that will hardly be enough to force action. ONLY when we realize that by not acting, we will allow others to fill the void. Like the Taliban in Afganastan, radical Islam (not mainstream) in Somalia and other places. Instead we attempt to force "democracy" on a fully developed nation like Iraq, which already has its own identity. Our focus should be to focus on fostering democracy in smaller countries like the Sudan, which would be more open to democracy and our influence. If we don't act soon in these places, others will, an we will fight another Iraq in the future.

So, Obama's answer to Darfur is to ask Clinton, "who is well respected in the African Community" to intervene?

Are we talking about the same Clinton who stated seven weeks into the genocide, his foreign policy that humanitarian action anywhere in the world would have to be in America's national interest:
"The end of the superpower standoff lifted the lid from a cauldron of long-simmering hatreds. Now the entire global terrain is bloody with such conflicts, from Rwanda to Georgia. Whether we get involved in any of the world's ethnic conflicts in the end must depend on the cumulative weight of the American interests at stake." IN OTHER WORDS, HELL WITH GENOCIDE!

I guess it wasn't in "America's interest",and while 800,000 were being slaughtered he, Albright, and the State Dept. refused to even call it "genocide", and the U.N. just continued debating the term and evacuating and reducing troops.

This is the guy who Obama, the overnight 7-week foreign wonder, chooses to help solve the problem, after the fact...?

It's the blind leading the blind!

History repeats itself. It has been repeating itself over and over in many areas for centuries. Marc, what makes you think that the Sudan would be any easier to pacify and democratize than Iraq? I would agree that militarily they are weaker, but they still have a tribal mentality, similar to the Iraqis, that will prevent any lasting changes. Africa is a continent in flux. We need to provide as much humanitarian aid as we can and ensure that it gets to the people that it is intended for. Be realistic when you ponder problems in third world countries. The best way to solve the problems is either to modernize the countries to bring some prosperity or go in and take them over. There are no third options short of momentary humanitarian aid.

I think Darfur is a U.N.problem and a corrupt know it all like Kofi Annon has all the answers to everything. France, Russia , China can solve that problem.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on September 15, 2006 3:17 PM.

Draft Obama 2008 Movement Launched. Illinois State Comptroller Dan Hynes urges Sen. Barack Obama to run for president in 2008. was the previous entry in this blog.

Bush: Poised to name Special Envoy for Darfur. UPDATE. White House sidesteps direct yes/no answer about envoy appointment. is the next entry in this blog.

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